Megalamphodus megalopterus is one of the few fish that has its own Russian-speaking name, which does not have Latin roots. The black phantom is famous for its coloring and body shape. Females have a brighter and more attractive color, unlike males.
In males, the anal, ventral and dorsal fins are slightly enlarged, which is not characteristic of aquarium harazinkas.
If you delve into your memory, then transparent, pink, red and many more different tail fins come to mind. But no one has black. Even in terntions that are not deprived of black pigment, black dye on the tail fin is over.
The color of the females is pale pink, anal, ventral and caudal fins are reddish, and the “fatty” is dark red. The tail and dorsal fins are black, and the anal has a black edging.
During the demonstrations of their merits, the males unfold the dorsal fin, which becomes almost round, while in a quiescent state it has the appearance of a curved pigtail. All fins, except for pectorals are gray with black piping. Males are dark gray.
During spawning or grooming females, the fins and the body turn black, and the males at this time become very beautiful.
Males and females have black spots on the sides. In the eyes passes vertical black stripe.
If you look at fish in the twilight of a spawning one, then you will immediately understand why the fish was called the “black phantom”: in dim light, the fish “disappear” and only pearly sickles are visible on the sides.
Spawning aquarium should be equipped in accordance with the requirements of the black phantom. In the aquarium there should be a large number of floating plants (reach, pistes). This is done so that the fish could spawn in them.
But, there are cases when spawning occurs on small-leaved plants located near the bottom of the aquarium. The middle layer must be released for swimming, because the fish must be pre-spawning ceremony.
I have not yet seen phantoms eat their caviar, but it is better to lay small-leaved plants, such as elodea, on the bottom.
After the appearance of the larvae, the plants from the aquarium should be removed to reduce the bioburden on the aquarium water, while the bank is shaded. Spawning need a small, it will be enough and 10 liters, but, as noted, the spawning proceeds better in aquariums of 15 liters in volume. The practice of reproduction of black phantoms showed that water should have a total hardness of no more than 3 degrees, carbonate less than 1 degree and an active response of the medium 6.8 – 6.9 pH, since the acidic environment interferes with the full fertilization of eggs.
It is better not to use additives and water softeners in preparation for spawning.
Immediately before spawning, producers can be kept in the same aquarium. If you carefully observe the behavior of fish in the aquarium, you will notice when the female is ready for breeding: the abdomen is rounded and she begins to show interest in the male. If the male responds adequately to the courtship of the female, it means that things are going in the right direction.
The pair must be caught immediately from the aquarium, and if you do not hurry, the fish can spawn in the general aquarium.. If the producers ensure proper feeding, then the females will be ready for the next spawning after two weeks.
If the fish are kept in different aquariums, then the female’s readiness for breeding is determined by filling the abdomen with caviar. Young individuals breed with great prey. If you put the producers from evening to spawn, then spawning occurs the next day, 3 hours after dawn.
If the male is not active enough, spawning can be deposited until the second half of the day, or even the next day.
If the main mass of haracin impatient males, which provoke females to spawn, pushing it and driving around the aquarium, this behavior is not peculiar to the black phantom. The females themselves are trying to drive away the annoying suitor, trying to peck him in the side. The male at this time fusses around and trembles with fins.
After each lap, the male makes a “candle” in front of the lady and as if invites her to floating plants. Only the female will move, the male immediately soars upwards, showing that he is ready for the final act.
When the male loses his patience, he may try to press the female to the glass, but a tough response awaits him.
Similarly flirtatious courtship begins in the morning and lasts long enough. One can be surprised at the tirelessness of the male, who during the whole spawning period does not rest at all.
In the end, after all the active courtship, the female rises up to the plants and, in contact with the male, the spawning process begins. I would like to note that during the mating dance the male does not reveal his gorgeous fins to the lady.
This technique is often used in other cases: to intimidate competitors and when meeting females.
There are cases when males decrease activity in the presence of female eggs. In these cases, you can sit down the second male, which one day before spawning will be attentive to the female.
If this is done, then the weaker activity of the first male disappears, as if it never existed. He immediately begins to fuss and makes the first attempts to find out the relationship with a competitor.
Females like this amusing, and the second male doesn’t care about all these movements, since he has not yet recovered from his post-transplant into another aquarium. When it becomes clear that there will be no continuation, the second male needs to be transported back to the general aquarium.
The caviar is transparent in appearance with an amber yolk that will darken as the embryo matures. Most likely, as a result of closely related crossings, the roe begins to lose its protective properties: it would seem that all the roe has fertilized and develops normally, but after 5-10 hours, the roe falls ill and dies almost completely.
In order to prevent this negative phenomenon, immediately after spawning, you must add erythromycin to the water, taking into account the proportion of half a tablet to 15 liters of water.
Due to the fact that erythromycin is poorly soluble, you can do this: the tablet must be crushed and put the required dose in the tissue, and the nodule with the medicine is hung opposite the spray from the filter. Masonry is quite large and has up to two hundred eggs.
After a day, the little faces leave their shells and are located at the bottom of the aquarium. The yolk sac is dark, and the body of the larva is transparent in appearance.
Unfortunately, my experience is not enough to give a definite answer about the relationship of eggs to the light. But at the same time, it is impossible to say that the larvae of black phantoms do not react to light at all.
Some larvae, if a beam of light hits them, try to break away from the bottom and swim to the side, while some remain fixed in place. Most likely, spawning is not necessary to completely obscure, it is enough to provide partial shading so that direct light does not fall on the aquarium.
One day after spawning, eyes appear in the larvae. When they move to the walls of the aquarium, they remain in this position until the spreading, which occurs six days after spawning.
Fans who first encounter a similar phenomenon will be puzzled by the lack of a full-blown spread. Yes, fry fill air bubbles with air, but remain motionless in the old place, having attached to the wall with their backs.
Like the fry of red neon, for a sense of security, the black phantom larvae need shelters in the form of floating plants. If they are absent, the fry attach to the walls of the aquarium.
At this point, the fry have no fear of the light, but they prefer to keep dark areas. From this position, you can better see the passing food, which they grab from an ambush.
The desire to go unnoticed in the phantom fry is so strong that if you remove the plant bush to the side, the fry will not leave his seat immediately, and when he is out in the open, he immediately rushes to the departing shelter. In order to avoid the accumulation of live food in the bright parts of the aquarium, the light in the aquarium with the young should not be bright, but rather dispersed, natural.
To prevent direct sunlight from entering the aquarium, the aqua can be hung with a curtain.
By type of feeding and growth, the black phantom pups have a lot in common with red neons. You can feed the young after 6 to 7 days. The main starting food is rotifers, ciliates, cyclops and diaptomus nauplii.
The fry of the black phantom do not look for food, but pick only what floats past the nose, therefore, there should be a large amount of food in the aquarium. The most inappropriate feed for feeding the young phantom is a brine rotifer, which quickly sinks to the bottom of the aquarium when released into fresh water.
The feeding task is simplified if there are floating plants in the aquarium. Quickly swimming in the thick of the vegetation, the fry will receive additional food in the form of rotifers, ciliates and other edible animals. Saltwater rotifers can be fed, but only if they are lowered onto floating plants.
This simple technique will not give the stern to sink to the bottom of the aquarium.
If the initial feeding was successful, then a week after hatching the fry will already be able to feed on the nauplii of Artemia. They eat very little and grow rather slowly, therefore, you need to provide small fry with small food for a long period of time.
The water temperature should be between 23 and 24 degrees, although the young of the black phantom can withstand short-term drops in temperature to 20 to 21 degrees. I would like to say a few words about the increased temperature.
There were cases when the phantom fry were in the water for about 35 degrees for several days. They rushed to the corners in search of cooler water, but only a few died.
At monthly age, the fry of the black phantom reach a length of 8 millimeters and become reddish-yellow, and blackness appears on the dorsal fin. In the first months of life, young phantoms are so transparent in appearance that it is possible to study the anatomical features of the fish in a side view.
For example, you can easily see the work of a small two-chamber heart.
Youngsters eat artemia with great appetite and periodically begin to enter open areas of the aquarium, although the bright light of the fish is not welcome. Like the majority of the Kharacin, the fry of the black phantom do not differ in high mobility. They eat almost everything, but greater preference is given to protein feeds.
From the bottom of the food picked up without hunting. In the general aquarium, fish behave like peace-loving ferrets and rather actively move with other fish around the aquarium.
At times of rivalry, the males are especially beautiful, as they unfurl their fins and bully in front of each other.
If you need to catch fish with a net and did not catch her by surprise, then you may not catch it in the vegetation-rich aquarium, as it will not rush around the reservoir, but will sit quietly in the undergrowth and wait for you to remove the net from the aquarium. The first signs of sexual dimorphism appear in the fifth or sixth month of life, and until this point absolutely all the fish have the same color as the females.
In males, the anal and pelvic fins will become blacker and larger over time.
As they mature, the females do not change their color, and the calf is gradually recruited. At the age of 6 months, the fish are ready to spawn, and without stopping, they start in the common aquarium. I don’t even expect fish from an aquarist to create any special conditions for them.
It was observed that with prolonged maintenance of adult black phantoms in hard water, hydrobionts do not lose their reproductive functions.